Shake Off The Winter Rust: Early-Season Golf Tips

Spring is here, in Myrtle Beach at least. While some parts of the United States and Canada are still threatened by cold and snow, warmer weather is not too far off. That being the case, it’s time to start gearing up for golf season. It is important to be realistic in the early going—you may shoot a couple lower rounds due to low expectations, but it will take a few weeks to find midseason form. Here are some ways to ease yourself into the season, whether you’ll be stuck at home or going on a season-kickstarting golf trip to, say, Myrtle Beach.

Easy Does It
This is probably a good overall mantra to adopt at the outset of the golf season every year. That’s because it’s important! If you hit a 7-iron 160 yards in the middle of summer, don’t stand on the tee of the first 160-yard par three you play in the spring and expect to knock it stiff. You’ll probably be lucky to cover the front edge of the green. Instead, take an extra club, take about an 85% swing and just concentrate on making solid contact.

Practice Makes Healthy
Stepping off the plane, waltzing up to the first tee and wailing away with a driver is a great way to lose a golf ball in one swing, not to mention tweak your back or shoulder. And yet many golfers are cavalier enough to do just this, putting their golf ball stock and bodies at risk. Even if it’s just half a dozen range balls scrounged up from the duffer zone, hit a couple half wedges, a couple mid-irons, a 3 wood off a tee and a driver off a tee—again, at about 85%–before swinging for the fences on the first tee. A few practice putts or chip shots will be helpful too.

A Friendly Handshake
If your early-season golf comes in the form of a trip, avoid arranging your rounds willy-nilly. Instead, do some research and start your group off with the easiest course of the trip (Rating and Slope figures, which are easy to find online) are the best starting point here). If your early-season golf will be happening at home, consider playing up a set (or two!) of tees for the first 18 or 36 holes. You will likely shoot a pretty friendly score, which will give you the confidence to charge ahead in the spring and summer, hopefully toward better scores.

These tips are fairly straightforward, but you would be surprised how many golfers overlook them. If you avoid that pitfall, you will find yourself getting into mid-season earlier than usual!

(posted 3/31/14)

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